30 Jul 2007

PNG election process delayed by one week

3:33 pm on 30 July 2007

Election writs in Papua New Guinea were to be returned today, but disputes over the counting process have forced the Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen, to put the date back a week.

97 of the 109 seats have now been declared but Mr Trawen has extended the deadline for the return of the writs to August 6th, with parliament to meet the following Monday to elect a Speaker.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Alex Rheeney, says candidates in several electorates have taken legal action putting the counting process on hold.

He says one of the seats involved is the Madang provincial seat in which the former Chief justice, Sir Arnold Amet, is leading.

"Besides bad weather has also wreaked havoc with counting in most provinces. Consequently counting has been delayed. This compelled the electoral commissioner to advise the governor-general last weekend to actually defer the date, deadline for the writs to August the 6th."

Alex Rheeney